Switzerland qualifies for the 2022 World Cup, forcing Italy into the playoffs
After a close run group, Switzerland have qualified for the 2022 FIFA Football World Cup in Qatar. The Swiss topped their qualifying group, forcing the European Champions Italy into the playoffs.
Switzerland qualifies over Italy for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
In a dramatic final night, Switzerland managed to secure top spot in their European qualifying group after a four-nil win over Bulgaria in Lucerne. Switzerland dominated the game, with goals from Noah Okafor, Ruben Vargas, Cedric Itten and Remo Freuler.
Despite the victory, Switzerland had to wait on the result from Belfast as the European champions Italy faced Northern Ireland, where the Gli Azzurri had to beat the Green and White Army to progress ahead of Switzerland. After a nerve-wracking 90 minutes that saw 12 Italian shots on goal, the score ended nil-nil, meaning Switzerland topped group C with Italy second.
Jubilant football fans celebrated the Swiss win
Once the final whistle blew, there were jubilant celebrations on and off the pitch. In some major Swiss cities like Basel and Zurich, car horns and alarms were set off to celebrate Switzerland's qualification over the champions of Europe.
The result will mean that Switzerland is the sole team from group C that qualifies directly for the World Cup in Qatar. The qualification is the first win for manager Murat Yakin, who took over from Vladimir Petković after UEFA Euro 2020, which saw Switzerland reach the quarter-finals, beating World Cup holders France on the way.
Despite drawing with Switzerland twice, the Italians must now face the peril of the playoffs to get to Doha next year. While they still remain one of the favourites, the Italian side will have to play a few more games before they join Switzerland at the World Cup.